Demand for pet-friendly rental properties soars during the pandemic

Creature comforts: Demand for animal-friendly rentals DOUBLES as tenants who acquired pets during lockdown flock to property websites

  • Demand for pet-friendly homes up 120 per cent in the past year of the pandemic
  • Government’s template tenancy agreement has removed restrictions on pets
  • More than three million homes have added a pet since the start of the pandemic 

Tenants are increasingly looking for pet-friendly homes with interest in such properties online soaring 120 per cent.

There has been a well-documented rise in pet ownership during the past year of the pandemic and the findings from Rightmove show it’s not just from those who own a home. 

Demand was measured by comparing enquiries to its website in July last year with the same month this year. The 120 per cent increase compares to total tenant demand on the website rising by 13 per cent.

Pet let: Demand for pet-friendly pads has doubled, according to one property website

The second biggest increase in demand was for homes with a balcony, which were up 70 per cent, while the need for parking is up 48 per cent.

Amid the so-called ‘race for space’, it is perhaps unsurprising that gardens also featured highly. It is ranked third, seeing an increase of 39 per cent.

At the same time, a property with all bills is also proving increasing popular with a rise in demand of 38 per cent. 

Tim Bannister, from Rightmove, said: ‘The rise in pet ownership during the lockdown periods has been well documented, and we’re seeing this translate to the rental market.

‘Becoming a pet owner is a long-term commitment, so what’s really interesting to consider is the impact this could have on the rental market in the future, and it’s a signal to landlords that if they were to consider allowing a well-behaved pet then it may open them up to a bigger pool of potential tenants.’

More than three million household have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association.

It said that young people are the main driver behind the increase, with more than half of new pet owners aged 16 to 34.

It follows a new model tenancy agreement published by the Government earlier this year, which tried to make life easier for animal lovers.

A main change in the Government’s template tenancy agreement is the removal of restrictions on tenants with pets.

The Government introduced this to encourage landlords to accept tenants with pets. However, in reality the template is just that – and landlords are not compelled to use it.

But pet owners can try to encourage landlords and agents to be more open-minded and shouldn’t be disheartened, as it is possible to find good places to let.

Ian Gibbs, of Get Living, said: ‘In the past year, we’ve seen residents and prospective residents’ priorities changing.

‘We’ve seen a substantial increase in people looking for a home that allows cats or dogs. Get Living became pet-friendly across all its neighbourhoods last summer, and one fifth of potential residents mention pets specifically as part of their requirements.’

And Richard O’Neill, of Romans Lettings, said: ‘There has certainly been an increase in demand for pet-friendly homes in the past year, which we attribute to the pandemic and a resultant shift in priorities.

‘People, more generally, have been looking for bigger, family homes, and these demographics tend to enjoy the companionship of a pet living alongside them.

‘Furthermore, where more people are spending more time in their homes and now have more space, it is likely that they are fulfilling past ambitions of owning a pet and now feel as though they have the environment and lifestyle to facilitate that.’

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